My favorite MGS memories, eh? For as critical as I am of this whole series, every single game gave me some unforgettable memories.
MGS1: I don’t like this game much these days, but I was 13 years old when it first came out in 1998, and I’ll never forget when Kamran came home from college with his roommates PlayStation and played the full game with myself and my younger siblings as an audience. It was the first time in my life I remember actually being enthralled by cutscenes. It was like watching a cartoon but with blood and profanity. That weekend of watching him play this game was something that blew me away and made me desperate to get my hands on the game for myself.
MGS2: The first M-rated game I ever bought for myself. Bought it the second I turned 17, February 14th, 2002. And the first time I heard Computer Colonel tell me to turn the game console off, and heard him going nuts talking Japanese, my heart started pounding with intense anxiety. This was the first game to actually freak me out when I played it. And some of us were still anxious about Y2K even two years on because we Americans are a dumb bunch.
MGS3: The very, very first time I played MGS3 after buying it from Blockbuster in 2005 (they let you buy games too), it was the boss fight with The End that stuck with me. It was the only time that fight took me over an hour to beat. And nothing stuck with me more than hunting through the grass, trying to find the old prune, then hearing “This…is the end…” from directly behind me before the camera cut to The End standing over Snake and shooting him before that cutscene triggered of him carrying Snake off back to the prison. I don’t know if this was something that only happened in the OG Vanilla version. I just know it never happened again in any other rematch I’ve had with him.
MGS4: After all the hype and all the buildup, I’ll never forget being floored the very first time I played this game and just got absorbed by the graphics and the rich, raw audio quality. It was absolutely stunning because I’d never experienced a video game that looked like that. And that first impression of carefully sneaking my way through the middle east was so gratifying back when I didn’t know where to go.
Peace Walker: Towards the end of my college career, MPW was basically my life in between periods. I’d either go into the parking lot and play missions in my car or go all the way up to the eighth floor of MLK Library with all of downtown San Jose in my sights and just play through the missions. This was a perfect “college gamer game.” I was 25 back then, and felt like a kid playing my gameboy all over again. Same with all the Ac!d games and MPO. The portable MGS games got me through the entirety of my college career tbh.
Ground Zeroes: I may despise GZ as a product, but there was no denying how awestruck I was the first time I finally played it. The atmosphere, the graphics, the sheer depth of that main mission, trying to find any clues I could as to where the hell Paz was after I found Chico. And all the conversations among guards building intrigue about whatever was happening in the base was such a one of a kind gaming experience.
MGSV: The amount of unforgettable moments for me in this game is pretty extensive, but there was one moment specifically that let me know straight away this was gonna be a magical experience. I was riding the horse across Afghanistan, then outta nowhere, I got sniped off my horse and frantically swan dived behind this large rock, until I finally found the sniper. But I didn’t have any weapons to attack the sniper from afar. Then a squad came after me on the ground. So I kept humping the ground to avoid getting sniped, then fought the ground team until I carefully crawled through the river, then up a crack in the wall, and up the hill, so I could sneak up to the sniper and take him out. I thought this was Quiet at first, until I pointed my gun at the sniper and realized it was one of those “capture the elite soldier” side ops. And that very first sequence was more exciting and organic for me than most set pieces in games were at the time.